LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and it’s also the season to watch out for counterfeit goods that are flooding the market.
Customs agents raided a store in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles and hauled off boxes of merchandise Friday. They said the business had sold 2,000 pieces of counterfeit clothing and accessories for more than $2 million.
In Carson, agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protections showed the media a warehouse full of bogus designer goods.
Counterfeits are no longer about designer handbags and fancy watches. Investigators said they are seeing a surge of perfumes, cosmetics, medications and even household products.
One of the most knocked-off items on the Internet is UGG boots. One way to tell which ones are genuine is by checking the soles. If you can bend them, they are real. The fake ones don’t blend, according to officials.
Federal agents said they seized more than $1 billion worth of knockoffs last year. Many were sold online. They have some advice to avoid being scammed:
- If a price is too good to be true, that item is probably fake.
- Avoid websites with unusual addresses or no contact information.
- Sites that offer models or designs that you don’t see elsewhere are probably bogus as well.
Customs agents admit they cannot intercept all the counterfeit goods that flood into the U.S. They said the only way the problem will end is if shoppers stop buying knockoffs.